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Leader Letter - How the Liberal Democrats are better for Exeter than Labour‏

January 10, 2013 12:48 PM
Originally published by Exeter Liberal Democrats

Dear Editor,

The mystery - how can Labour-controlled Exeter City Council claim to keep on "investing" in Exeter when they are always saying that funding is being cut?

Firstly, the funding isn't being cut. Although all Councils are enduring cuts in their base budget, Exeter is enjoying a government incentive scheme called the "New Homes Bonus". This is a fund which is generous and gives the Council cash in return for building houses. Exeter is doing this in abundance, and these funds are greater than the cuts Labour keep talking about. According to the Council's own figures, income is projected to rise by 1.4%, 0.8%, 1.6% and 2.2% over the next 4 years. So Exeter is in fact doing very well from the Liberal Democrats in goverment. Contrast to the last Labour government, where their botched concessionary fares scheme drained £3.7million from Exeter's coffers during the Liberal Democrat term in office.

Secondly, this "investment" is all based on eye-watering levels of borrowing. In July 2011, I wrote to the Echo concerned about the debt at the time of £10.5 million pounds. Today, the debt is £28.6million and according to Council projections it is due to continue to rise up to £51.4million over the next 4 years. This doesn't even include their proposed new swimming pool! But all this borrowing costs money in debt repayments and interest. Again Council figures show the repayment costs rising from £1.1million this year to £1.8million in 2016/17. That means that a further £700,000 has to be diverted from services to pay for these debts. We can only pray that interest rates don't rise. However, Labour's professional publicity machine will keep telling you that it is government cuts. They are wrong - cuts in Exeter City Council's services are ONLY caused by the debt legacy made here by locally elected Labour Councillors in Exeter, supported by their Conservative counterparts.

Exeter has done well from a number of government policies - even as the country as a whole tightens it's belt. What's more, the government money is not raised by the simple debt binges that Labour engage in, but by diverting funds to reward progress and success.

All figures quoted above can be found on the Exeter City Council website.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr Adrian Fullam
Leader
Exeter City Council Liberal Democrat Group
07855 979917
References:
  • http://committees.exeter.gov.uk/documents/s26962/Budget%20strategy%202013-14.pdf
    • Section 13.1 - Figures showing growth in Council funds
    • Section 18.2 - Reference to £18.9m extra borrowing